Morgan: 60-40

Roy Morgan has simultaneously unloaded two sets of polling figures, as it does from time to time. The regular fortnightly face-to-face poll, conducted over the previous two weekends from a sample of 1684, has Labor’s lead nudging up to 60-40 compared with 59.5-40.5 at the previous such poll. Both major parties are down 1.5 per cent on the primary vote – Labor to 49.5 per cent, the Coalition to 34 per cent – while the Greens are up from 7.5 per cent to 9 per cent. There is also a phone poll of 695 respondents conducted mid-week, which finds a slight majority favouring “maintaining a balanced budget” over vaguely defined alternative economic objectives. The poll has Labor’s lead on voting intention at 58-42 on two-party preferred and 46.5-37 on the primary vote. The Greens are on 10.5 per cent.

Plenty happening on the electoral front, not least the finalisation of the federal redistribution for Queensland. This offers a few surprises, and may be a rare occasion where a major party’s submission has actually had an effect. Two changes in particular were broadly in line with the wishes of the Liberal National Party, which marshalled a considerable weight of media commentary to argue that the Coalition had been hard done by. As always, Antony Green has crunched the numbers: all estimated margins quoted herein are his.

• Most interestingly, the changes to Dickson that sent Peter Dutton scurrying for refuge have been partly reversed. As the LNP submission requested, the electorate has recovered the rural area along Dayboro Road and Woodford Road that it was set to lose to Longman. However, only a small concession was made to the LNP’s request that the troublesome Kallangur area be kept out of the electorate. The electoral impact is accordingly slight, clipping the notional Labor margin from 1.3 per cent to 1.0 per cent. Peter Dutton is nonetheless sufficiently encouraged that he’s indicating he might yet stand and fight – or less charitably, he’s found a pretext to get out of the corner he had backed himself into. Labor has received a corresponding boost in its marginal seat of Longman, where Jon Sullivan’s margin has been cut from 3.6 per cent at the election to 1.7 per cent, instead of the originally proposed 1.4 per cent.

• Major changes to Petrie and Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley have largely been reversed. It had been proposed to eliminate Petrie’s southern dog-leg by adding coastal areas from Shorncliffe and Deagon north to Brighton from Lilley, which would be compensated with Petrie’s southern leg of suburbs from Carseldine south to Stafford Heights. The revised boundaries have eliminated the former transfer and limited the latter to south of Bridgeman Downs. Where the original proposal gave Labor equally comfortable margins in both, the revision gives Wayne Swan 8.8 per cent while reducing Yvette D’Ath to an uncomfortable 4.2 per cent. Retaining Shorncliffe, Deagon and Brighton in Lilley had been advocated in the LNP submission. Almost-local observer Possum concurs, saying the revised boundaries better serve local communities of interest.

• South of Brisbane and inland of the Gold Coast, changes have been made to the boundary between Forde and the new electorate of Wright, with a view to consolidating the rural identity of the latter. Forde gains suburban Boronia Heights and loses an area of hinterland further south, extending from suburban Logan Village to rural Jimboomba. Labor’s margin in Forde has increased from 2.4 per cent to 3.4 per cent, and the Coalition’s in Wright is up from 3.8 per cent to 4.8 per cent.

• Little remains of a proposed northward shift of the boundary between Kennedy and Leichhardt from the Mitchell River to the limits of Tablelands Regional council. Kennedy will now only gain an area around Mount Molloy, 150 kilometres north-west of Cairns. Its boundary with Dawson has also been tidied through the expansion of a transfer from Dawson south of Townsville, aligning it with the Burdekin River. None of the three seats’ margins has changed.

Moreton gains a park and golf course from Oxley in the west and loses part of Underwood to Rankin in the south-east, with negligible impact on their margins.

Maranoa has gained the area around Wandoan from Flynn, making the boundary conform with Western Downs Regional Council. This boosts Labor’s margin in Flynn from 2.0 per cent to 2.3 per cent, compared with 0.2 per cent at the election.

• Three minor adjustments have been made to the boundary between the safe Liberal Sunshine Coast seats of Fisher and Fairfax, allowing the entirety of Montville to remain in Fisher.

Ryan has taken a sliver of inner city Toowong from Brisbane.

Other news:

• The Financial Review’s Mark Skulley reported on Wednesday that the federal government was moving quickly to get its electoral reform package into shape. Labor is said to be offering a deal: if the Liberals drop their opposition to slashing the threshold for public disclosure of donations (which the Coalition and Steve Fielding voted down in March), the government will include union affiliation fees in a ban on donations from corporations, third parties and associated entities. Phillip Coorey of the Sydney Morning Herald says the New South Wales branch of the ALP alone receives $1.3 million in revenue a year from the fees, which unions must pay to send delegates to party conferences. According to Skulley, many union leaders fear a Rudd plot to “Blairise” the party by weakening union ties, with Coorey naming the ACTU and Victorian unions as “most hostile”. It is further reported that the parties propose to cover the foregone revenue by hiking the rate of public funding. VexNews “understands” that an increase from $2.24 per vote to $10 is on the cards, potentially increasing the total payout from $49 million to $200 million. The site says Westpac currently has a formal claim over Labor’s public funding payout after the next election, as the party is currently $8 million in debt. The Liberals are said to be keen because they’re having understandable trouble raising funds at the moment. A further amendment proposes to restrict political advertising by third parties. As well as being stimulating politically, some of these moves might be difficult constitutionally.

• A proposed referendum on reform to the South Australian Legislative Council has been voted down in said chamber. The referendum would have been an all-or-nothing vote to change terms from a staggered eight years to an unstaggered four, reduce its membership from 22 to 16, allow a deliberative rather than a casting vote for the President and establish a double dissolution mechanism to resolve deadlocks. Another bill amending the Electoral Act has been passed, although it will not take effect until after the March election. A number of its measures bring the state act into line with the Commonwealth Electoral Act: party names like “Liberals for Forests” have been banned, provisions have been made for enrolment of homeless voters, and MPs will be able to access constituents’ dates of birth on the electoral roll (brace yourselves for presumptuous birthday greetings in the mail). The number of members required of a registered party has been increased from 150 to 200: if you’re wondering why they bothered, the idea was to hike it to 500 to make life difficult for the putative Save the Royal Adelaide Hospital party, but the government agreed to a half-measure that wouldn’t threaten the Nationals. Misleading advertising has also been introduced as grounds for declaring a result void if on the balance of probabilities it affected the result. The Council voted down attempts to ban “corflute” advertising on road sides and overturn the state’s unique requirement that how-to-vote cards be displayed in each polling compartment.

Deborah Morris of the Hastings Leader reports Helen Constas, chief executive of the Peninsula Community Legal Centre, has been preselected as Labor’s candidate for the south-eastern Melbourne federal seat of Dunkley, where Liberal member Bruce Billson’s margin was cut from 9.3 per cent to 4.0 per cent at the 2007 election. Constas was said to have had “a convincing win in the local ballot”. UPDATE: Andrew Crook of Crikey details Constas’s preselection as a win for the left born of disunity between the Bill Shorten and Stephen Conroy forces of the Right; Right faction sources respond at VexNews.

• The ABC reports that Nationals members in the state electorate of Dubbo have voted not to abandon their preselection privileges by being the guinea pig in the state party’s proposed open primary experiment. There is reportedly a more welcoming mood in Port Macquarie, which like Dubbo is a former Nationals seat that has now had consecutive independent members.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

791 comments on “Morgan: 60-40”

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  1. Boerwar@1434: (previous thread)

    [Bottom line, though, is that acid rain, even if it biologically kills lots of inland water, kills lots of forests and melts public works of art and some limestone buildings, is still probably a lot less consequential than AGW at an anomolomy of four degrees, which, realistically, is where we are headed.]

    We had to destroy the village in order to save it?

  2. itstime@1451: (previous thread)

    [Atmospheric dispersal of sulphur doesn’t do anything about ocean acidification.]

    Sorry, not sure what you mean by that. Can you expand?

  3. Don @2, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to increased carbon dioxide dissolved in the oceans, causing the pH of the oceans to drop. This acidification alters the chemistry of the oceans, leading to massive problems- e.g. inability of invertebrates to form shells- which would not be solved by using sulfide particles to slow global warming.

  4. Another Rudd is a bad boss story.

    Here’s a heads up working for a PM or high profile minister is nothing like it was in the 80s so why bother comparing Rud with Hawke.

    There was no 24 hour news day back then. You got out a story on Sunday and that was the week… maybe something else would break but you weren’t expected to provide new stories, new quotes new responses throughout the day on any and every issue.,27574,26221178-421,00.html

  5. The economic policy question in the Morgan poll is really badly worded. First it doesn’t say its about economic policy but only lists economic policy options. Some people (eg who think climate change is more important) might put “don’t know” because their issue isn’t a choice. Second, the options are debt, infrastructure, skills and productivity. Why those four? Why not tax reform? Why not funding health and education? Besides, productivity growth is usually a function of infrastructure investment and skils training anyway. Did Julie Bishop write these options??

    All the survey proves is that most people are illiterate on the subject. Our public debt is the lowest in the OECD. Private debt (eg size of mortgages, lack of personal savings) is the big problem. Maybe shadow cabinet were in the survey, noting the 3% “don’t know” response.

  6. Michael@4:

    [increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to increased carbon dioxide dissolved in the oceans, causing the pH of the oceans to drop. This acidification alters the chemistry of the oceans, leading to massive problems- e.g. inability of invertebrates to form shells- which would not be solved by using sulfide particles to slow global warming.]

    Thanks Michael. In other words adding sulphur to the atmosphere would just exacerbate the oceans pH problem.

  7. So Rudd and his ministers expect plenty of hard work and long hours from their very well paid and ambitious public servants. Good. About time.

  8. More airing of this approach in the media as Sunday approaches…

    [THE Coalition is considering a Senate motion that would postpone the final vote on the Government’s emissions trading scheme until next year. This would unite the fractured Opposition and ease the pressure on Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership. The Herald understands that while no decision has been taken whether to move the motion, it has been discussed at a senior level and is part of the tactics the Coalition will take to the debate.]

    [The Opposition’s emissions trading spokesman, Ian Macfarlane, said he believed the negotiations with the Government would go for the full 10 days of the sitting. but he cautioned: ”That’s assuming the Government wants the scheme. If they want to play politics then the negotiations will probably be over on Monday night”. But he said he was not putting forward an amendment to the party room to postpone the scheme until after the Copenhagen talks.]

  9. The ocean PH problem is even worse than the points Michael has raised. Fish breath by water passing through their gills. Make that water more acid (lower PH) and a lot of fish don’t like it very much. In geological history one of the largest mass die offs of species was associated with very low PH oceans. In the Late Ordovician extinction event almost 90% of fish species dissappeared. Stuffing around with the planet’s chemistry is a really dumb thing to do. Even though I am an engineer myself I get quite frustrated by people who think we can “solve” GHG problems by some other manipulation of sea or sky. The only reliable solutiion is to cut our emissions. A lot.

  10. Frank @3

    Funnily enough, I didnt see this story on Mr Rees’ you tube site

    ABC News in Sydney was running a story that the largest state in the Commonwealth was the only one not to present a substantive submission to the Henry tax enquiry…

    [The Rees government came under fire in August when it was revealed it had lodged an old report to the Henry Review. It has been revealed that New South Wales Premier Nathan Rees demanded state treasury officials draw up a tailor-made submission to the national taxation review, but it was never sent.]

  11. [Another Rudd is a bad boss story.]

    By Steve Lewis!

    […senior Labor figures worry these changes will leave the Government vulnerable heading into an election year.]

    Steve was told by someone who saw an email that said so.

    [Actor Rob Sitch, one of the stars of the ABC’s Hollowmen, which took a satirical look at life in a prime ministerial office, said the “combination of stress, caffeine and Canberra will eventually wear anybody down”.]

    Rob Sitch!? Forget that, what do Burt and Patty Newton think?

    The link from Google to this story reads ‘Is this Australia’s toughest boss?’.
    Answer: You would hope so.

    With headlines like that I think this story will have the same affect as the Rud uses naughty words ‘scandal’. i.e. voters will see this as a good thing.

  12. Here’s the thing – in the 80s work life was much, much easier for Ministers, Minster’s advisors, public servants, and… oh yes, journalists.

    So lines like:
    [Seasoned political advisers say that John Howard, Paul Keating and Bob Hawke enjoyed strong staff loyalty and only minor turnover.]

    are meaningless

  13. On the PM’s staff, I would also expect that the workload (and stress) levels associated with responding to the GFC for months at a stretch would also be meaningful; such “events” dont happen all that often, but are alas the responsibility of those in the big office to deal with…

  14. Laocoon

    It isn’t just miisterial staff. People in treasury, DOFA and RBA have all been working very long hours in the past year. In infrastructure agencies a lot of people in my line of work did a huge amount of hours to get all the candidate projects for the stimulus package defined, costed and assessed. Most accepted it though, as necessary at teh tiem. Most did a very good job too IMO.

  15. Excellent post on Sri Lanakan refugees on the POison Pen blog:
    Here’s an excerpt from the figures for refugees from Sri Lanka in 2008, according to the country to which they applied:

    [Australia: 1,843
    Canada: 20,442
    France: 18,102
    Germany: 6,594
    India: 73,286
    Malaysia: 1,232
    Switzerland: 2,464
    UK: 8,725
    USA: 1,615]
    Which sugests that yes,
    [I’m going to keep saying this: Tamils – Sri Lanka – Tamil Nadu?]

    Yep most do try to go to Tamil Nadu.

    The numbers do certainly put in perspective our “problem” with Sri Lankan refugees.

  16. In everyone’s rush to say that Rudd going through staff like water doesn’t matter, you seem to be forgetting that you are only as good as your staff. If lots of good, experienced staff members leave an organisation, it weakens the organisation. It’s unequivocally a bad thing to have more than half of your staff quit.

    I don’t care much why they quit but his department won’t function as well with a whole lot of new inexperienced staff members.

    It’s bad management. You don’t run a company like that.

  17. 24 – Working in a politician’s office is not like working in a real private sector job, so comparing the impact/effect to such is not really relevant.

  18. vortex

    The principle is the same whether it’s a private sector job, working in a public servant office (eg running a public hospital), a football team or a politician’s office. No team functions best with rapid turnover.


    If it costs a couple of thousand to pay a people smuggler for a boat trip, why don’t they just buy a plane ticket and claim asylum when they land without a visa?

  19. [If it costs a couple of thousand to pay a people smuggler for a boat trip, why don’t they just buy a plane ticket and claim asylum when they land without a visa?]

    I don’t know about citizens in other countries, but every time i’ve left Australia I’ve been asked to show my passport – checking in and collecting boarding pass, and in recent years even to board the flight. Exiting other countries to come home again: the same thing – passport to check in etc.

  20. [If it costs a couple of thousand to pay a people smuggler for a boat trip, why don’t they just buy a plane ticket and claim asylum when they land without a visa?]

    They don’t let you get on a plane going to Australia without a visa.

  21. confessions

    Wouldn’t they have a passport? The visa thing might be the problem. Still, a tourist visa wouldn’t be out of the question.

  22. If anybody who thinks sulphur is the solution to anything should take a look at photos of Queenstown from the 70’s or take trip to Mount Isa.

  23. confessions@28:

    [every time i’ve left Australia I’ve been asked to show my passport – checking in and collecting boarding pass, and in recent years even to board the flight. Exiting other countries to come home again: the same thing – passport to check in etc.]

    Me too.

    I suspect it is in the airlines’ interest to make sure their passengers have a valid visa – it gets messy and expensive for them delivering the rejected passengers back to the point of departure in wherever.

    I suspect they are held responsible for ensuring that passengers have correct travel documents.

    This is all supposition, be good to know for sure.

  24. Dogenes@30:

    [Still, a tourist visa wouldn’t be out of the question.]

    I suspect you’d need to show that you had enough money for the trip.

  25. [Wouldn’t they have a passport? The visa thing might be the problem. Still, a tourist visa wouldn’t be out of the question.]

    Yes, a tatty refugee-looking type turns up to the High Commission and says he wants to see Sydney Harbour Bridge. I’m sure they’d give him a visa.

    Ok, so he borrows a suit and goes in looking dressed up. He still has to say why he wants to come here. These things are checked. I think they probably have ways of sorting out the genuine tourists from the would-be refugees or else, yes, they’d all be doing it. The ones who use boats have probably taken one look at the visa application and decided on the more risky manoeuvre.

    But … I do agree with Soc on the workplace atmosphere in general. A close-to 50% turnover in a short time doesn’t look real flash, and it doesn’t allow time to settle into the job. Pity Steve Lewis, hired gun for the Liberals, wrote the article, or else I might have taken it a bit more seriously.

  26. [In everyone’s rush to say that Rudd going through staff like water doesn’t matter….]
    Dio, you maybe right in what you say but I think most people here are looking at this from the average voter’s point of view and not from the office dynamics viewpoint. Politically such a story leaves a good impression of Rudd being a very hard worker. Who knocks that? I really don’t think voters are going to be thinking how it disrupts the workings of his office and therefore be concluding he is a bad boss and deserves to go. That requires just a little too much thought for most.

  27. [Wouldn’t they have a passport?]

    It’s a big assumption, given the countries and the regimes many asylum seekers are fleeing from. I’d imagine it would be difficult to obtain documentation that would enable someone to legally leave their country if it is ruled by a repressive government – even more so if the person wanting to leave is a persecuted and oppressed minority. We take for granted that obtaining a passport is as simple as filling in an application form and supplying proof of identity. This isn’t the case for many people.

  28. GB

    I agree that no-one would care less if Rudd works his staff hard.


    Wouldn’t country X which hates a racial minority be happy to see the end of them? The Germans were happy to see Jews emigrate for quite a while. Sri Lanka has a huge problem on it’s hands with 300,000 Tamils in internment camps. I would have thought they’d be happy to see them end up in other countries.

    From the figures above, Canada and France seem to be very popular for reasons that I don’t understand. Do they have a large Tamil population?

  29. Yep, that’s right. Your village is being bombed, perhaps your home destroyed, but you’ve kept all your papers safe and of course they’re the first thing you grab when you’re fleeing for your life.

    Or you hear on the grapevine that the secret police are after you. Of course you take your papers, you want the police to know who you are if they stop you.

    My father came to Australia after WWII. Having been born into a dirt poor peasant family, I don’t think he had many papers to begin with. He certainly had none after time spent in various prison camps. He was registered as a displaced person and came to Australia.

    He had so little proof of identification that, when he contacted his family in the old country to tell them he had survived the war, he had great trouble convincing them (they had already buried a body they thought was his).

    Most genuine refugees are like my father. If they’ve escaped with their lives, they’re sitting pretty. Sometimes they don’t have passports (not everyone does, I don’t), and they haven’t been able to grab 100 points of ID on their way out. Sometimes carrying any ID at all would place their lives in danger.

    And without valid ID you can’t get a visa.

  30. I think Rudd can be criticised for making some wrong appointments early on, so it is inevitable that some of those people had to move on. Walt Secord, for example. Someone like Pradeep Phillip started working with Rudd early in 2007, and worked well with Rudd, and he had almost 3 years in Rudd’s office before he moved back to Queensland Treasury. But three years is a quite common length of time in such a high pressure job. I would like to see the turnover rates in the PM’s office by level. High turnover in the junior ranks is not such a concern as high turnover in the senior ranks.

  31. Julia will be in charge on Tuesday as Kev is off to Indonesia for Yudhoyono’s inauguration.
    The OO has been gosipping again
    [There are reports the Rudd Government is seeking a new strategic plan with Indonesia to stop asylum seekers coming from the country by boat, including funding naval pursuits and more detention centres.

    The reports in the Australian newspaper are allegedly from documents which show the plan was discussed at a meeting at the Indonesian President’s house last week.

    The plan also reportedly includes Australia helping to resettle all illegal immigrants in Indonesia in return for the country’s help.]

  32. The airlines are fined by the Australian govt for delivered unauthorised arrivals and the visa application process would seek to weed out suspected asylum seekers and those with poor documentation. Arrival by plane is just not an option for everyone.

  33. vera’s article said that the refugees paid US$15,000 to the people smuggler. I’d try to get fake ID etc for that amount and book a holiday and stay. Still, it obviously isn’t as easy as that.

  34. 44

    One suspects that the smugglers don`t carry the money on board with them (the people on the boat are probably usually underlings) and the government would not give them replacement money.

  35. I love the way that Tamil guy said on the radio that they wont make make the threat of blowing something up – wanting to prove they are the peaceful type. I feel much better already having heard that.

    He also said he acquired his American/Candadian accent working in call centres in India. That being said it thus seems he had himself some sort of life outside of Sri Lanka. I don’t know if India kicked him out or if he decided he preferred Australia.

    If they had $15k USD each it is harder to imagine them to be genuine asylum seekers in danger of their life. Wonder if they had that money as cash, in bank accounts, coin or jewellery.

  36. Yeah TTFB, I thought of that after I posted, the money would most likely all be collected by whoever was running the show before they were allowed to get on the boat.

  37. [It’s bad management. You don’t run a company like that.]

    I would tend to agree with that. Going through staff like that sets your self up for a big bungle later on. But I guess at PM office level it is those seeking a challenge that would go for it. Still it is concerning, sounds like he needs more staff.

  38. I have concerns with asylum seekers that when they get out of their country and to a place that they can live without danger to life they don’t want to stay but are hell bent on going to Australia.

    If an asylum seeker is offered resettlement in another country they happen to run across on their travels then they can no longer be considered an asylum seeker as they no longer need to keep fleeing.

  39. TP

    [Still it is concerning, sounds like he needs more staff.]

    I would have thought that would solve the problem. There must be plenty of qualified people who would want to work in the PMs office, esp if the work conditions improve because there a re better staffing ratios. I assume they get paid overtime if they work long hours and it may actually save money if they get in more staff.

    Another national crisis solved at PB. 😀

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